When the fixtures for the 2016 / 17 season were published a lot of people did question how Liverpool would cope with the 1st 5 games. Arsenal Chelsea and Tottenham – 3 teams who are direct competition. Throw in Burnley an unknown quantity and Leicester the current champions and we’ve got ourselves a party!!
Would we continue how we left off last season? Competing against the big boys and becoming limp against the smaller teams. The 1st 3 games were going to be played away, due to the main stand extension. Burnley kindly agreeing to switch and play at Turf Moor 1st rather than Anfield.
One thing is for sure, it’s going to one interesting journey!!
How are we doing?
According to This Is Anfield Liverpool are the most creative team so far this season. We have been playing with success a 3 man attack of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino supported by box-to-box midfielders Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool have shown a growing fluency in the final third.
Across the Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, Liverpool’s 73 chances leave them as No. 1. Though with some leagues starting later than in England, their average of 14.6 per game is the fifth-most of any side in Europe’s top five, behind AS Roma (15.8), Real Madrid (15.3), Genoa (15) and Bayern Munich (14.7); however, they are top in the Premier League.
According to Talk Sport, Sadio Mane is in the Top 5 Premier League top performers. He averages 3.3 dribbles per game, one of the best returns in the league to date, with his versatility and unpredictability ideal for Liverpool’s fluid attacking system. Full article: Talk Sport
What does the media think?
Our 1st game was against Arsenal
Started off as we carried on, focusing on Moreno and his ‘poor’ defending.
Liverpool’s full-back Moreno had a match to forget after twice making crucial mistakes. He should have been punished by Walcott for his first – a wild lunge on the England forward inside the area which resulted in the penalty. Simon Mignolet’s save bailed him out. The reaction on social media was damning and who knows what his manager Jurgen Klopp was thinking.
His second error was arguably more inexplicable when he allowed Walcott acres of space on the right of the box – before the England winger drilled his angled effort past the Belgian keeper.
They did point out Coutinho’s brilliance.
Philippe Coutinho was the conductor in midfield for Liverpool, he scored two superb goals – the only downside was the injury to the Brazilian 20 minutes from time.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “We lacked experience at the back and we were physically short. Liverpool did well and we were for 15 minutes completely shocked.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “I played a big part in the excitement of the last half-hour, because it’s not allowed to celebrate the fourth goal like this with 35 minutes to go. “At this moment, we switched off the machines. The game was not over. Arsenal lost, but we gave them a path back into the game.
The Telegraph went with a rather amusing ‘Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal men thrash Gunners’.
But when Jurgen Klopp’s side, boasting three new signings, clicked into gear, Arsenal fell apart to condemn Wenger’s men to their third opening-day defeat in four seasons at the Emirates.
The inexperienced pair were ripped apart by Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and debutant Sadio Mane during 18 minutes either side of half-time.
Next up was Burnley
A truly awful game, from Liverpool’s point of view. Losing 2-0 despite having over 80% of the possession. They focused on: Jurgen Klopp blames Turf Moor surrender on poor decisions by his Reds players
Sadly we had heard similar stories last season about Liverpool not making the most of their opportunities.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp blamed his players’ poor decision-making for not making the most of 81 per cent possession in the 2-0 defeat at Burnley.
Unlike Liverpool in this game, Burnley had a game plan. With Burnley working out how they could nullify the far superior Liverpool midfield. It quickly became apparent that Burnley would concede possession and space to their visitors.
Continuing a similar theme, focusing on; ‘Liverpool’s defensive issues continue..’
The manner of their victory at Emirates Stadium had given Liverpool plenty of reasons for early season optimism but, unfortunately for them, the only part of that performance they repeated came at the back.
Focusing on defensive issues that look to be coming back into Liverpool’s game. Left-back Alberto Moreno paid the price for his defensive errors at the Emirates, being replaced by James Milner, but right-back Clyne produced an even worse error that led to Burnley’s opener.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told Match of the Day: “Our decision-making was not good. We’d put in a good cross but there were no bodies in the box and then when we had bodies in the box we ended up shooting.
Tottenham at the Lane..
Next we played the team that finished 2nd place, Tottenham. It was a good game. Liverpool’s defence looked more solid. With Milner again being preferred to Moreno. But again, Liverpool’s trait of not taking advantage of opportunities was mention on more that one occasion in the back pages.
There was a common theme amongst the newspapers. ‘Tottenham and Danny Rose punish wasteful Liverpool to claim draw’ is what the Guardian settled with. Again, more than enough opportunity to put the game to bed early. Sadly, it never happened.
Jürgen Klopp leaned back in his chair, threw a glance to the skies, and wore the expression of a man who had just been told the last bus home had been cancelled. “Oh my God,” he said, exhaling deeply.
“We have not the most easy starting programme. Four points from nine is not what I wanted but it’s OK. That’s our platform.”
Liverpool had more than enough chances to win, quite apart from the mysterious offside call. From the start the thrust of Mané and trickery of Philippe Coutinho tested Tottenham. They set about the challenge here with swift movement and energy.
The Daily Mail acknowledged that Liverpool should have won the game and went with; ‘Danny Rose rescues a point.’
They were explosive and destructive on the break, tearing through Spurs and yet unable to convert any of the many clear chances they created. It’s going to be a long season if we hear that too many times…
Similar approach with the Daily Express; ‘Danny Rose rescues Spurs’.
Appreciating that Liverpool dominated the game and should have won it. If it hadn’t been for stand-in keeper Michel Vorm, Spurs could have been a couple of goals down before James Milner scored two minutes from half-time.
Liverpool could, and probably should, have wrapped it up after that, leaving Klopp understandably feeling robbed.
Could we turn it around against Leicester?
Sky Sports went with a very simple approach; ‘Roberto Firmino strikes twice in Reds win’.
Two goals from Roberto Firmino helped Liverpool beat Leicester City 4-1 in the first game at the renovated Anfield on Saturday evening.
Firmino then added further gloss to the scoreline in the 89th minute.
Similar approach for the Telegraph, again focusing on Firmino. ‘Roberto Firmino scores two as champions are put to the sword’.
Could we be turning a corner? With four clinically-finished goals, Liverpool took maximum points once again from the reigning Premier League champions. Followed by; Freewheeling attacking performance against a defence that was almost unbreachable last term will have sent so many home delighted.
These really sums up the hope we have at Anfield; there were elements within in it that suggested that at last hope is appearing on the horizon. Real demonstration of their control.
When we are good we are really good,” said Klopp.
The Mirror continued in similar vein, with a superb headline; ‘Klopp’s poetry in motion’
Again offering us hope that things could get better in the future; In many ways, this was a showcase for the best and worst of Jurgen the German’s Anfield revolution, with brisk passages of pass-and-move interfaced with moments of hide-behind-the-sofa awfulness. The home side played with intensity and speed and Leicester City couldn’t handle it.
Game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea…
‘Antonio Conte loses first Blues game after Reds’ first half blitz.’ It certainly was a blitz. Pure dominance. Total control. A team with an identity working in harmony with each other. Blues suffered a lapse of concentration to allow Dejan Lovren, returning after an eye injury, to open the scoring with a far post finish before Jordan Henderson unleashed a contender for Goal of the Season with a 30-yard screamer into the top corner. Chelsea never did put Liverpool under enough pressure to force an equaliser and as a result the Reds leave London again with points in the bag.
Having already won at Arsenal and been unfortunate not to pick up more than a draw at Tottenham, Jurgen Klopp’s side are daunting opposition right now as they move into the top four.
A superb game, one that Klopp lived every minute on the touchline…Naturally he wanted to celebrate with his team, so the Mirror focused on; ‘Jurgen Klopp forgets to shake hands with Antonio Conte amid celebrations after Liverpool beat Chelsea’.
Expanding in a little bit more detail, The Reds boss ran onto the pitch to congratulate his players after their victory, in turn snubbing Chelsea manager Conte.
Jurgen Klopp claims Liverpool played “football like hell” in impressive win at Chelsea. Boom! Liverpool pumped up after Chelsea power show capped by a Jordan Henderson wonder-strike. It was great to read that the Mirror considered this; Excellent win for Liverpool to continue their strong start to the season.
We are playing the best football in Europe. More chances than last season and scoring more goals. Sadly we are still not capitalising on our great work at times. Games against Burnley and Tottenham.
The Leicester game proves that we are slowly creating an identity. We are sticking to the game plan and can play very well…well enough to score 4 past Leicester who at times last season out-played most teams.
Against Chelsea we showed we can again dominate. But when it really matters, we can deny them opportunities. Shutting them down and frustrating them. This display was pure brilliance. Fluid attack, pressing, recycling and defending.
It will be a long season. The media have got it right so far. I’ll be interested to see how they feel again soon.